Around the Watershed: News and Events

New Student Video on Importance of Streams

Posted on: August 13th, 2018 by Leslie_Zucker

The Water­shed Detec­tives Club at the Ben­nett Ele­men­tary School have pro­duced a new video titled “The Impor­tance of Streams” with assis­tance from the AWSMP. The 30-minute sci­ence edu­ca­tion video is now online for all to see! Water­shed Detec­tives Club is an after-school sci­ence club where stu­dents learn about streams and the Ashokan Reser­voir water­shed, part of the NYC Drink­ing Water Sup­ply Sys­tem. Stu­dents made the video after a year study­ing local streams, water qual­ity, and water conservation.

This moti­vated group of fourth, fifth and sixth-grade stu­dents were involved in all aspects of the movie-making process. They worked as actors, direc­tors, cam­era, light and sound tech­ni­cians, cue card hold­ers and even caterers.

Stu­dents pro­duced the video over a three-month period with the assis­tance of their club advi­sor, Matt Savatgy, a youth edu­ca­tor with Cor­nell Coop­er­a­tive Exten­sion of Ulster County (CCEUC), and retired Onte­ora teacher and video­g­ra­pher David Laks. The video was made pos­si­ble with edu­ca­tion fund­ing pro­vided by the New York City Depart­ment of Envi­ron­men­tal Protection.

The video serves as a use­ful tool for ele­men­tary school teach­ers or any­one eager to learn more about their local water resources. Edu­ca­tional insti­tu­tions can con­tact the AWSMP office for a free DVD copy at (845) 688‑3047.

AWSMP at Shandaken Day 2018

Posted on: August 13th, 2018 by Brent Gotsch

AWSMP will be attend­ing this year’s Shan­daken Day on August 18 from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm at the Catskill Inter­pre­tive Cen­ter located at 5096 State Route 28 in Mount Trem­per, NY. Shan­daken Day is an annual event to cel­e­brate all the things that make the Town of Shan­daken great. There will be many dif­fer­ent types of ven­dors present, live music, and a vari­ety of games for chil­dren and fam­i­lies. Local res­i­dents who have con­tributed greatly to the Town will be rec­og­nized with the Pride of Shan­daken and Ham­let Hero Awards.

AWSMP will have a table with pro­gram lit­er­a­ture as well as an edu­ca­tional dis­play and model. Stop on by to see the model in action, pick up some lit­er­a­ture and say hi. We look for­ward to see­ing you!

AWSMP/CCEUC Educator Brent Gotsch shows a youth the floodplain model at the Catskill Interpretive Center. Photo Credit:  Stephanie Whatton

AWSMP/CCEUC Edu­ca­tor Brent Gotsch shows a youth the flood­plain model at the Catskill Inter­pre­tive Cen­ter. Photo Credit: Stephanie Whatton

AWSMP at Ulster County Fair, Thursday, August 2nd

Posted on: July 31st, 2018 by Brent Gotsch
The Stream Table shows how water interacts with and changes the landscape.

The Stream Table shows how water inter­acts with and changes the landscape.


AWSMP will be at the Ulster County Fair on Thurs­day, August 2, from 10:00am to 3:00pm. We’ll be located in the Youth Barn near the snack bar and 4-H exhibits. We’ll be run­ning sev­eral mod­els and games includ­ing some that you’ve likely never seen before. Two of our peren­nial favorite mod­els, the stream table and flood­plain model, will be on dis­play and run­ning through­out that time period. New this year we’ll have a game to see how well you know our local streams and fish. We’ll be giv­ing out some really fun prizes to every­one who par­tic­i­pates! Be sure to stop on by, say hi, play the game, check out the mod­els and view our brand-new pro­gram dis­play. See you at the fair!


The Floodplain Model shows how large amounts of rain, stormwater, and development can lead to flooding.

The Flood­plain Model shows how large amounts of rain, stormwa­ter, and devel­op­ment can lead to flooding.

Explore the NYC Watershed

Posted on: July 23rd, 2018 by Leslie_Zucker

AWSMP’s Stream Access & Recre­ation Work­ing Group recently learned more about New York City Depart­ment of Envi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion (DEP) efforts to expand pub­lic access to City owned prop­er­ties in the NYC water sup­ply water­shed. The reser­voirs and lands in the water sup­ply now include more than 133,000 acres open to the pub­lic for fish­ing, hik­ing, hunt­ing and other recre­ation. Here are links to more infor­ma­tion on explor­ing the watershed:

Out­door Events — DEP hosts events each year to help water­shed res­i­dents and vis­i­tors explore scenic des­ti­na­tions.  Visit or fol­low for pub­lic event times, loca­tions, and sched­ule through­out the year.

Day Use Areas — Day Use Areas offer recre­ational oppor­tu­ni­ties like hik­ing, bicy­cling, cross-country ski­ing, snow­shoe­ing, and in-line skat­ing with­out the need of a DEP Access Per­mit. Three road­ways closed after the 9/11 attacks are now open as Day Use Areas. The Ashokan Day Use Area is 55 acres in the Town of Olive and fea­tures walk­ways and pic­nic areas. The 2.7-mile prom­e­nade along the Ashokan Reservoir’s south­ern shore fea­tures unri­valed views of the reser­voir and Catskill Moun­tains. More infor­ma­tion on Day Use Areas can be found at

Find­ing a Prop­erty — DEP has released an inter­ac­tive map for find­ing more than 400 prop­er­ties open to recre­ation on water sup­ply lands and reser­voirs. The map links to angler maps, hik­ing trails, boat launch sites and more. See the RecMap­per at

Boat­ing on NYC Reser­voirs — Restricted boat access is avail­able on the Can­nonsville, Nev­ersink, Pepacton, and Schoharie reser­voirs. Cer­tain non-motorized boats are allowed and must be steam cleaned by approved ven­dors and receive a boat tag before being placed on the reser­voir. 17 launch sites are avail­able with vehi­cle park­ing and hand-launching. Approved ven­dors offer boat rentals near the reser­voirs. For more infor­ma­tion, go to

Pub­lic hear­ings on pro­posed changes to NYC DEP recre­ation rules on City owned prop­erty will be held July 24 and July 26 at water­shed loca­tions.

Interns Help with Stream Assessment and Monitoring

Posted on: July 18th, 2018 by Brent Gotsch

There’s a lot of work being done this sum­mer at AWSMP and we use all the help we can get! Thank­fully, we have an arrange­ment with SUNY Ulster and the NYC Depart­ment of Envi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion to hire interns to help with field work and other essen­tial tasks. This year we are proud to have both Justin Alecca and Kait­lyn Per­rone as our sum­mer interns.

Justin and Kait­lyn help mon­i­tor com­pleted stream projects. This includes sur­vey­ing the chan­nel and sam­pling stream sed­i­ment. They use sur­vey equip­ment and Global Posi­tion­ing Sys­tem (GPS) devices to record mea­sure­ments of the stream. These tasks are repeated every few years and after floods to track changes and deter­mine if a com­pleted stream project is suc­cess­ful in its goal to sta­bi­lize the stream.

One type of chan­nel sur­vey, called a cross sec­tion, mea­sures how deep the stream bed is at a par­tic­u­lar point. Sed­i­ment sam­pling involves mea­sur­ing the size of dif­fer­ent sed­i­ment par­ti­cles to deter­mine what size par­ti­cles the stream is mov­ing. Steeper more pow­er­ful streams tend to move larger, heav­ier sed­i­ment par­ti­cles. Lon­gi­tu­di­nal pro­files char­ac­ter­ize the aver­age stream slope and depth of rif­fles, pools, runs and glides and is used to delin­eate stream types. Dras­tic changes such as increased build-up of sed­i­ment (also known as aggra­da­tion) or severe deep­en­ing of the stream bed (also known as degra­da­tion) can be evi­dence of insta­bil­ity that indi­cates a need for stream work. 

AWSMP Summer Interns Justin Alecca (left) and Kaitlyn Perrone (middle) help AWSMP Watershed Technician Tiffany Runge (right) run a cross section along the Stony Clove Creek.

AWSMP sum­mer interns Justin Alecca (left) and Kait­lyn Per­rone (mid­dle) help SWCD Water­shed Tech­ni­cian Tiffany Runge (right) run a cross-section along the Stony Clove Creek.


There are seven stream restora­tion projects that will be sur­veyed this year. After chan­nel sur­vey are com­pleted, this busy team will move on to veg­e­ta­tion mon­i­tor­ing at numer­ous ripar­ian buffer plant­ing sites. They will wrap up the sum­mer field sea­son with stream assess­ments in Lost Clove and Hatch­ery Hol­low near Oliverea.

Justin is a stu­dent at SUNY Ulster who recently became a crim­i­nal jus­tice major. He learned about the intern­ship oppor­tu­nity through his biol­ogy teacher. His favorite part of the intern­ship is being able to gain field expe­ri­ence while learn­ing about streams. He has one more year at SUNY Ulster and would ulti­mately like to become a game war­den in either Maine or Colorado.

Kait­lyn is a recent grad­u­ate of SUNY Ulster who majored in ecol­ogy. She learned about the intern­ship through her adviser. Her favorite part of the intern­ship is being out­doors and walk­ing through the stream, since you can learn so much by being immersed in it. She plans to take a semes­ter off and then trans­fer to a 4-year col­lege to com­plete her bachelor’s degree in either ecol­ogy or biology.

We thank both Justin and Kait­lyn for all their hard work this sum­mer and wish them the very best with their future plans and careers!

Freshwater Snorkeling and Stream Study for Families

Posted on: July 18th, 2018 by Brent Gotsch

Snorkeling Flyer_cropped

Reg­is­tra­tion is full! The AWSMP will be offer­ing this pop­u­lar pro­gram again in 2019.

If you would like to be added to a wait list please con­tact Brent Gotsch at or 845–688-3047 ext. 3.

The Fresh­wa­ter Snor­kel­ing and Stream Study for Fam­i­lies event will be held on August 10, 2018 from 10:00am to 4:00pm at the Emer­son Resort and Spa in Mount Trem­per, NY.

Esopus Creek News Summer Edition!

Posted on: July 16th, 2018 by Leslie_Zucker

The sum­mer edi­tion of Eso­pus Creek News can now be viewed online. This edi­tion cov­ers Wood­land Creek a trib­u­tary to the Eso­pus Creek in the Town of Shan­daken. Arti­cles cover find­ings of the new Wood­land Creek Stream Man­age­ment Plan and a large stream restora­tion project planned this sum­mer for Wood­land Creek. The newslet­ter reports on “Field Notes” from around the water­shed, fish of the Eso­pus Creek, and a major bridge replace­ment planned for Route 28 over the Eso­pus Creek in Mt. Trem­per. Check the newslet­ter for stream pro­gram activ­i­ties and upcom­ing events like the Fresh­wa­ter Snor­kel­ing and Stream Study Event! To receive a color newslet­ter in the mail, con­tact us with your name and address.

CWC Extends Septic Repair Program throughout Watershed

Posted on: July 13th, 2018 by Leslie_Zucker

Home and small busi­ness own­ers through­out the New York City Catskill-Delaware Water­shed may now be eli­gi­ble for funds to repair or replace failed sep­tic sys­tems no mat­ter their dis­tance from a watercourse.

The Catskill Water­shed Corp. (CWC) Board of Direc­tors on July 9 removed the require­ment that a sep­tic sys­tem be within 700 feet of a water­course. The dis­tance require­ment had been extended sev­eral times since the CWC’s Sep­tic Reha­bil­i­ta­tion and Replace­ment Pro­gram began in 1995, and now is removed entirely.

The res­i­den­tial sep­tic repair pro­gram reim­burses home­own­ers 100% of the eli­gi­ble costs of sep­tic repairs if they are per­ma­nent res­i­dents, and 60% if they are part-time res­i­dents. The Small Busi­ness Sep­tic Pro­gram pays 75% of the cost of such repairs for busi­nesses employ­ing 100 or fewer people.

As of June 30, the res­i­den­tial pro­gram had addressed 5,368 failed sep­tic sys­tems in the West-of-Hudson Water­shed. Twenty-four busi­nesses have par­tic­i­pated in the small busi­ness program.

Both pro­grams require that sep­tic sys­tems pre-date Novem­ber 2, 1995. Own­ers of sys­tems installed since that date are eli­gi­ble for the CWC’s Sep­tic Main­te­nance Pro­gram which pays half the cost of pump­ing and inspect­ing sys­tems every three years. More than 2,000 home­own­ers have ben­e­fit­ted from the main­te­nance program.

For infor­ma­tion on the CWC’s sep­tic assis­tance pro­grams visit where you can find appli­ca­tion forms (Pro­grams) and view a short video of a sep­tic instal­la­tion project (Resources).

The CWC is a non-profit, Local Devel­op­ment Cor­po­ra­tion respon­si­ble for sev­eral envi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion, eco­nomic devel­op­ment and edu­ca­tion pro­grams in the New York City Water­shed West of the Hud­son River.

Help Trout Beat the Heat

Posted on: June 29th, 2018 by Leslie_Zucker

With high tem­per­a­tures fore­cast this week­end through next week, it’s impor­tant for anglers to remem­ber that cold­wa­ter fish like Eso­pus Creek trout expe­ri­ence seri­ous phys­i­cal stress when­ever water tem­per­a­tures climb above 70 degrees Fahren­heit. Fish­eries man­agers at the NYS Depart­ment of Envi­ron­men­tal Con­ser­va­tion (DEC) are offer­ing angling tips on how to help trout and salmon beat the heat.

Heat stressed fish often seek pock­ets of cold water cre­ated by upwelling ground­wa­ter, small feeder streams, or water released from deep reser­voirs. These refuges allow trout to avoid or recover from poten­tially fatal lev­els of heat stress. You can help by tak­ing the fol­low­ing pre­cau­tions dur­ing your warm weather fish­ing trips.

  • Avoid catch and release fish­ing for heat stressed trout. Trout already weak­ened by heat stress are at risk of death no mat­ter how care­fully they are handled.
  • Don’t dis­turb trout where they have gath­ered in unusu­ally high num­bers. Because these fish are likely to be suf­fer­ing from heat stress and seek­ing relief, respon­si­ble anglers will not take unfair advan­tage of their distress.
  • Fish Early. Stream tem­per­a­tures are at their coolest in the early morning.
  • Go to Plan B! Have an alter­nate fish­ing plan ready in case water tem­per­a­tures are too high at your intended des­ti­na­tion. Con­sider fish­ing a water­body that is less prone to heat stress or fish­ing for a more heat tol­er­ant species like small­mouth bass.


When fish­ing tail­wa­ters, such as those below New York City water sup­ply reser­voirs, remem­ber that the cool­ing influ­ence of reser­voir releases will not extend as far down­stream dur­ing peri­ods of intense heat. By pay­ing atten­tion to water tem­per­a­tures and adapt­ing fish­ing strate­gies to chang­ing con­di­tions, anglers can help New York State’s trout and salmon beat the heat.

Anglers can check stream water tem­per­a­tures on the Eso­pus Creek at the USGS Cold­brook gage. A graph avail­able online shows daily fluc­tu­a­tions in water tem­per­a­ture (see an exam­ple below).

Graph of water temperatures

Public Comment Period Open for New Flood Risk Documents

Posted on: June 29th, 2018 by Brent Gotsch

The New York State Depart­ment of Envi­ron­men­tal Con­ser­va­tion (DEC) is now accept­ing pub­lic com­ment on two flood-risk man­age­ment doc­u­ments. The “State Flood Risk Man­age­ment Guid­ance” doc­u­ment and the “Guid­ance for Smart Growth Pub­lic Infra­struc­ture Assess­ment” doc­u­ment can be down­loaded and reviewed by vis­it­ing the NYSDEC web­page ded­i­cated to the Com­mu­nity Risk and Resiliency Act (CRRA). The dead­line for pub­lic com­ments is August 20. Com­ments should be sub­mit­ted by email to and include “CRRA Com­ments” in the sub­ject line or by mail­ing writ­ten com­ments to DEC, Office of Cli­mate Change, 625 Broad­way, Albany, NY 12233–1030.

The guid­ance doc­u­ments describe how sea-level rise and river­ine flood­ing pro­jec­tions adopted by NYSDEC in 2017 should be incor­po­rated into project design in spec­i­fied facility-siting, per­mit­ting, and fund­ing pro­grams. The CRRA Act seeks to address issues related to cli­mate change in New York State by adopt­ing offi­cial sea-level rise pro­jec­tions; con­sider sea-level rise, storm surge and flood­ing for appli­cants of cer­tain pro­grams; imple­ment smart growth pub­lic infra­struc­ture pol­icy; pro­vide guid­ance on nat­ural resiliency mea­sures; and develop model local laws con­cern­ing cli­mate risk.